HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani has affirmed that Qatar is an active partner in international collaboration against terrorism.
He pointed out that the issue of terrorism is a high priority for Qatar, pointing to the continuous development of its national legislations and its related institutional entities against terrorism, and the implementation of UN resolutions in this regard as well as its active involvement in the international coalition against terrorism.
In a speech during the opening of the Forum on Returning Foreign Fighters, the minister said terrorism in all its forms and manifestations is one of the most serious threats to international peace and security, describing any terror act as a crime, regardless of the motives or identity of the perpetrators, including acts motivated by intolerance, extremism or otherwise.
The foreign minister added that terrorism cannot be confronted and eliminated unless the international community united its efforts through a persevering and inclusive approach based on co-operation and participation among all states, international and regional organisations, civil society organisations and academic and research entities effectively in the exchange of information in security and prevention of terrorist threats as well as in incapacitating and isolating them within the framework of the international strategy to combat terrorism, in addition to the need for the world community to abide by international law and abandon the policy of double standards in the fight against terrorism.
HE Sheikh Mohamed pointed out that the UN reports indicate that the common factors to foreign fighters, whether they are from the Middle East, Asia or Europe, are that most of them are young people who lack the ideology of right thinking; and they belong to oppressed communities or economically isolated, they lack livelihood opportunities and education, and they have weak job opportunities.
He stressed that terrorism cannot and should not be linked to any religion, nationality, civilisation or ethnic group, and it is important not to confuse terrorism with legitimate resistance, stressing the need to renounce recourse to state terrorism under the guise of combating it.
The minister pointed out that the increasing use by terrorists and their supporters of communications technology to spread extremist ideology that leads to terrorism and recruiting others to commit and incite acts of terrorism require intensifying co-operation between states to prevent terrorists from exploiting technology, communications and resources in inciting support for terrorist acts.
He added it was imperative to resort to security and military operations and to take urgent measures to enforce law to counter the imminent threat posed by terrorist groups that recruit and transport terrorist fighters across international borders, but he pointed out that immediate and urgent alertness should not stand in the way of addressing the real causes and motives of terrorism.
HE Sheikh Mohamed said that there is an agreement among the international community that foreign fighters pose a serious threat to their countries of origin, the countries they cross and the countries to which they travel, as well as to the countries neighboring the armed conflict zones.
According to UN statistics, foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq, for example, are from more than 100 countries, he said.
The minister underlined that addressing the threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters requires comprehensively tackling the real causes of terrorism, particularly repressive and sectarian policies, marginalisation and the absence of social justice suffered by large groups in some societies, in addition to working on combating incitement to commit terrorist acts motivated by extremism and intolerance, preventing the dissemination of radicalisation and to focus on correcting it, promoting political and religious tolerance and economic development, paying more attention to the youth, promoting social cohesion and inclusiveness, ending the armed conflict and settling them, depriving terrorist groups of the ability to establish themselves and create safe havens, and facilitating reintegration and rehabilitation.
He stressed that the success of any national strategy to integrate returning terrorist elements from the battlefields required the eradication of the incubation environment of extremist ideology and building the state capacity to prevent and combat terrorism, with full respect for the state's obligations towards the rule of law and human rights.
National legislation must be brought into line with the state's obligations at the international level, he added, especially the relevant Security Council resolutions, in particular resolution No. 2178 of 2014 and resolution No. 2396 of 2017 on criminalising acts committed by returning combatants and putting the legal basis for their prosecution and rehabilitate and integrate them into society.
He added that there is no doubt that the process of rehabilitating the returning fighters and reintegrating them into society requires a comprehensive approach that corrects misconceptions about the violence, extremism and terrorism, and addresses the political, social and other causes, adding that the issue of terrorism is a high priority for Qatar.
Qatar is an active partner in international collaboration against terrorism, he said, adding: "We are committed to addressing it at the national, regional and international levels by participating in all international and regional efforts in this regard."
He also referred to Qatar's continuous development of its national legislation and institutional entities concerned with terrorism, the implementation of UN resolutions in this regard and the active partnership of the State of Qatar in the international coalition against terrorism, adding that Qatar will continue to play an active role in the international community in maintaining international peace, security and combating terrorism and violent extremism at the national level and through bilateral, regional and multilateral co-operation.
He underlined that Qatar provided humanitarian assistance and supported educational and economic development initiatives and building more flexible societies to combat terrorism and extremism.
HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs said that Qatar supports the Education Above All initiative, which has so far educated 10mn children around the world, noting that this initiative is based on supporting children affected by conflicts and disasters.
To encourage economic empowerment in the Middle East and North Africa region, he said, Qatar supports Silatech, which has so far provided 1mn jobs for young people in 16 countries since 2008 and seeks to provide 2mn jobs by 2020.
He expressed certainty that everyone realises the legal, political or social challenges facing the "foreign fighters", especially in light of the difference in legal systems in defining terrorism, and the lack of consensus among international community about its definition, as well as the politicisation of the term 'terrorism' in many cases and weak cooperation between states for political reasons.
At the beginning of his speech, His Excellency welcomed the participants in this forum, thanked the organisers and stressed its importance giving the importance of foreign fighters' issue to the entire world.
He said that the broad participation in the forum reflects the international will, and the extent of interest in addressing this phenomenon, hoping that the work of the forum will be successful and achieve its objectives.
The two-day forum will discuss many topics and policies in dealing with foreign fighters as well a the international community's co-operation in tackling this phenomenon, and the importance of this issue to the entire world at the present time, in addition to exchanging views and ideas among the participants and proposing solutions.
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